U.S. vows to determine cause of Okinawa chopper crash

The U.S. government promised Tuesday to get to the bottom of the crash of a U.S. military helicopter in Okinawa, responding to a strong protest by Japan during high-level talks, a senior Japanese official said.

"We lodged a strong protest" over the accident, Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japanese deputy foreign minister, told reporters after meeting with Wendy Sherman, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Sugiyama said he asked Sherman during their meeting at the State Department to make sure such accidents do not happen again.

The U.S. side said it will do its utmost to probe the cause of the crash and provide relevant information to Japan, according to Sugiyama.

"The U.S. side said it was an accident that should never have happened," he said.

The U.S. Air Force HH-60 helicopter crashed Monday in a mountainous area within a U.S. military base in Okinawa, about 2 kilometers away from the nearest residential area. No civilians were hurt.

The accident came amid opposition in Okinawa to the U.S. military's deployment of the Osprey transport aircraft there due to its history of accidents, including a fatal one.